If you’ve been through the hell that is long distance flights across different time zones, chances are you’ve also experienced the flight hangovers also known as jet lag.
I get it – you want to get as far away as possible, you tell your boss you’re leaving for a month, you get all excited to just GTFO and start sipping coconut drinks on the beaches of Bali.
It’s all fun and games until the moment you arrive and feel like death, pass out at the breakfast buffet and proceed to crawl to the closest beach at noon with a bottle of Advil, while simultaneously texting your coworkers with lies such as “This is life, I’m having a great time already. SO FUN.”
If this sounds at all familiar, then believe me when I say: you do not have to live like this.
With some minor adjustments before and during your flight, you can actually leave that shit in the past.
Just like hangovers, there are ways to prevent and deal with jet lag to ensure a good start to any vacation, allowing you to actually be active on Instagram from day one without looking like you just got over the flu.
Before You Leave
Before you even leave your apartment, you should start preparing for the shock you’re about to put your system in. If you really want this to work, then you’re going to need some self control during the weeks leading up to your flight.
If you’re traveling east, start moving your bedtime an hour earlier.
If you’re traveling west, move your bedtime an hour later.
If you’re an overachiever, you can also move your bedtime several hours. The more, the better.
It’s about finding a balance where you’re still able to show up to work on time leading up to your vacation, yet also making big enough adjustments so that your schedule isn’t completely thrown off when you arrive.
During The Flight
As soon as your flight takes off, forget the time zone you just left.
Leave it in the past, it doesn’t concern you anymore.
Change your Phone’s time zone to wherever your destination is, and start living on their time the second you get on the plane.
Ever noticed how every long haul flight bases their meal schedule on the destination time zone? Take it from the pro’s.
If they give you breakfast, you take that fucking breakfast.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
Never eat plane food.
Most people say to drink lots of water, no alcohol and stay away from caffeine, but uhm… I disagree.
Caffeine and alcohol are your friends.
If you know that by the time you get on the flight it’s going to be evening in the country you’re landing in, I recommend getting only a few hours of sleep the night before, then having a glass or two of red wine as soon as the flight takes off.
Lay back in your seat, plug in some calming music, and sleep through the flight.
If you’re on the slightly more psychotic side, go for whatever drug you usually take before bed. If you’re feeling so anxious and high strung that wine and exhaustion isn’t enough to get you to drift off, then pills will always do the trick.
Just pop an Ambien and drift off into the good old fuzzy, don’t-give-a-fuck kind of sleep it always brings. Of course there’s also Lunesta, Sonata, Halcion, Benadryl, and even Seconal if you’re into that instead.
If it’s going to be early in the morning at your destination however, do the opposite.
Get as much sleep as possible the nights before, then prepare for an “all-nighter” on the flight.
It’s like reliving the old college days – caffeine jitters, no sleep, and that weird underlying sense of hatred for everyone in the room.
So as soon as the flight takes off, start ordering coffee, blast some upbeat music, play Sudoku – anything to keep your mind awake.
If you do this right, then by the time evening comes and you’ve gotten to your hotel, you’ll be absolutely exhausted and have the best sleep of your life, and by the next morning there won’t be any Jet lag at all.
Note: Be very careful with the coffee you order on flights, because some of them are only serving decaf. Something about not wanting customers to get anxious. Just make sure it’s the real deal.
Remember that flying can be insanely dehydrating, and in addition to the Jet lag, you’ll also most likely end up puffy.
I recommend drinking a shit ton of water to avoid headaches, dry skin and puffiness, but then again water will also counteract the caffeine and alcohol.
The less water you have, the more effect you’ll experience from whatever you’re consuming, but that’s up to you.